Another Conversation with Author Lena Gregory

What inspired the idea for your book? 

Savannah’s wedding date was rapidly approaching, and what’s more cozy than a holiday wedding!

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book? 

I think I was just as surprised as Gia to realize the reason her and Hunt’s relationship stalled has nothing to do with their hectic schedules. 

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?  

Since this book revolves around a Christmas wedding, I’d love to hang out with Savannah. We’d go shopping for gifts, do last minute wedding odds and ends, and plan what she needs to pack for her honeymoon. Once that was all done, a day of pampering before the wedding would be amazing. 

What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

It’s so thrilling to me to be called an author. I’ve loved to read ever since I was young, and I’ve always wanted to write. Since I didn’t get to start until I was older, it was something I never thought I’d accomplish. So, being an author means the world to me.

How do you define success as an author? 

I felt successful when I finished writing my first book, then again when I got my first contract, and my agent, and the first time I picked up one of my books in a book store, but for me, the most successful I’ve ever felt is when readers reach out to me and let me know my books have touched them in some way. I don’t think I could ever feel more successful than in those moments.

What comes first for you — the plot or the characters?

As an author what do you think makes a good story? For me, I think the characters are really what make a story good. Each book in a series has a different plot, and you have to try to make them all good, interesting, different, but the characters are consistent. I feel like a reader needs to enjoy the characters and be interested in following their journey to keep returning to a series. I view it as spending time with old friends, so I always try to catch my readers up with characters even if they won’t play a major role in a current story.

How do you avoid or defeat writers’ block?

I pray a lot! I have thirteen stories to write at the moment, ten of which are already contracted. A case of writer’s block would be a terrible problem for me. That said, there are days where I just don’t know what to write, what direction to take a story. On those days, I usually take a step back and go for a walk. That’s usually enough to get my head going again and allow the characters to let me know where they want to go, especially if I don’t have a pen and paper with me to write down all my great ideas.

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

I tend to have a difficult time getting started writing. I need everything to be just so. Before I even start, I go through all of my emails and social media to be sure nothing needs my attention. If I have any phone calls to make, I do that, so I can minimize interruptions. Once I have anything that could distract me in order (not that something I haven’t anticipated won’t interfere, but I do my best) I get set up to write. If I’m just beginning a story, I set up my murder board with a diagram of all the main characters and suspects, then I set up my notes—piles and piles of them, on everything from loose-leaf paper to fast food napkins—and settle down to write. That’s usually when one of my kids starts yelling, “Mom!”

Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests? 

I don’t get very much free time, but when I do, I love to walk, especially in nature trails with my husband, kids and dogs. I also enjoy watching superhero movies with my hubby and kids. 

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? 

Sit down and write your story. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect on the first draft. It’s more important to just get the story down, and take care of the rest on your first round of self-edits.

What is your author’s spirit animal? 

My spirit animal is a snake, which I often see while I’m writing.

What would the title of your autobiography be? 

If You Can Dream It, You Can Achieve It. 

Describe yourself in as few words as possible. 

Caring, sensitive, insomniac.

Gia is determined to give Savannah the fairytale wedding of her dreams. Ice cream shop owner Trevor has lent his home and has decked it out in North Pole chic, excited for the chance to be  part of the occasion. His wedding planning has left the girls with little left to do except approve the menu and show up on the day. a suspected murder in the caterers showroom closes them down, putting Savannah’s big day in jeopardy. Of course Gia can’t help but look into things a bit, especially since her path keeps crossing potential suspects. Why was the woman murdered; greed, adultery? Was she even the intended victim? What does it mean when a second death occurs? Will Gia solve the mystery before the wedding or will the killer go after her next? Hmmm…

So yay, another All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mystery by Lena Gregory.  The thing that stands out the most for me is that, though I haven’t had the opportunity to read all the books in the series, the characters slipped into my reading like the beloved friends they are. Sure, they are further along in their stories, but they are still the same wonderfully, dynamic and well written characters that drew me into the first book. 

The mystery is well paced with plenty of clues and interesting people popping into the story to provide them. There are wonderful wrong directions to look in and plenty of suspects, most of whom I would vote for locking up, just to make the world a nicer place whether they are the murderer or not. 

Reading about Gia cooking is such a tease, I am always hungry by the time the order is up and the shared recipes have me itching to try them at home. The friendship and camaraderie between the core characters is just comfortable and their story would be interesting even if no one died today. Plus, Christmas… Gia wants nothing more than a family Christmas, evoking that small child in all of us, who still remembers the thrill of dark Christmas mornings, presents, and fun. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I received an advance review copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

For more information about Lena Gregory and the All-Day Breakfast Cafe Mysteries click into Guest Post: Meet Savannah Mills from A Waffle Lot of Murder by Lena Gregory or A Conversation with Author Lena Gregory

’Tis the season for celebrating when Gia Morelli’s holidays include both a wedding and yuletide festivities. Until someone naughty delivers a most unwanted Christmas gift—murder. . .

For a native New Yorker, palm trees and warm temperatures don’t equal winter, much less Christmastime. Nevertheless, Gia Morelli’s friends have decked the halls and trimmed the trees to truly welcome her into their “family” with an old-fashioned Boggy Creek, Florida holiday season. Even more joyous, Savannah Mills is getting married on Christmas Eve—the greatest gift Gia could ever wish for her best friend.

But when Gia and Savannah stop by the caterer for a final tasting a week before the wedding, they overhear another bride arguing with her son about her husband-to-be. Moments later, the woman is sampling a piece of wedding cake—gorgeously decorated with mistletoe frosting—then suddenly dies.

Now Gia’s caterer friends are the prime suspects in what appears to be murder by poisoning. To clear their names and ensure Savannah has a merry matrimony will require Gia to conjure up a Christmas miracle . . .

Includes recipes from the All-Day Breakfast Café!

Purchase Links: Amazon – Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Kensington    Apple     Google Play    GoodReads 

Lena grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for such a wonderful review! I’m so happy you enjoyed the story. And thank you for having me and sharing the release of Mistletoe Cake Murder and for such a beautiful post!

    Liked by 1 person

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